SSMA Blog: Creative Industries Award Winner Sahar Summer Bayer Discusses the Music Industry, Social Mobility and Her Advice to Others

Sahar Summer Bayer is in her second year studying Politics and Sociology at Goldsmiths. She has interned at a music management company responsible for artists such as Paul McCartney and Shania Twain; provided consultancy for the Wigmore Hall; been an events assistant and curator at the Roundhouse; and been a junior writer at GRM Daily. Sahar is a trustee of a youth charity, Sound Connections, and has facilitated workshops at a Pupil Referral Unit.

Sahar won the Creative Industries Award at the Student Social Mobility Awards 2018.


Tell us a bit about your journey to winning an award at the Student Social Mobility Awards.

My upReach mentor initially encouraged me to nominate myself for an award. I did not think much of it at first. After much persuasion from peers, I decided to give it a go, and my wonderful colleague at Sound Connections nominated me a few hours before the deadline. When I was notified that I had made the final cut, I was bewildered as I did not expect it all! I was very pleased to have won the award on the night and to have been surrounded by many brilliant and like-minded people.

How has winning an award affected you?

The award has definitely allowed me to brush aside my rampant cynicism and to further acknowledge my efforts and resilience, especially in navigating my industry. The music industry can often be overwhelming, particularly since it is not a diverse industry and relies on free labour and nepotism. Winning an award has definitely boosted my self-esteem. It is a very humbling experience to be recognised and I hope to continue to strive in whichever path I decide to take.

What does social mobility mean to you?

Social mobility is an incredibly important issue to me.

As briefly touched upon above, the music industry and creative industries as a whole need to widen access into the field, and avoid deterring some young people. I find it shocking that many practices have become normalised, such as the failure to provide a minimum working wage. There is a need for initiatives, partnerships and collaborations with creative organisations and schools to nurture young people and raise awareness. With government cuts to institutes, youth centres and creative courses, this is more vital than ever. Social mobility is all about access and it is sad that talented individuals might have worse career chances due to their lack of social and cultural capital.

I will continue to promote social mobility because we need opportunities for young people to recognise and reach their potential. I have worked on widening participation events at university and have helped at careers fairs, as well as talking to music industry professionals about this matter. I feel that I have a responsibility to do my bit.

What advice would you give to students who want to go into the creative industries?

Use the knowledge and technology that we have around us. For example, get into the habit of emailing people after networking events. It is important to familiarise yourself with their work and for them to retain a positive impression of you. Reach out to people from companies and organisations that you like, and try to build meaningful relationships. Go to events and meet people that foster your creative ability. Take note of organisations and schemes and see how you could get involved.

Like anything, there will be hardships, but if I could only give one piece of advice, it would be to stay curious and always open to new ideas. Never be afraid to ask questions, and you’re never silly for asking them!


To register your interest in the Student Social Mobility Awards 2019, as a nominator, attendee, supporter or sponsor, click here.


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